April 22, 2011

The Rain In Spain Falls Mainly on the...

It's sneak peek season and fabric is popping up all over. I don't know why, but i always love to make a giant pile of the whole collection once it arrives. It gives me a chance to see the range of colors — and i guess it doesn't hurt that i get to handle each of the prints (with maybe a teensy-weensy bit of oogling) and smooth my hand over them while stacking it up. More peeks to come soon, but in the meantime, you can see a little more here and here. Terrain will be at Quilt Market (without me, sniff, sniff), and is due to ship this September. Two prints will come in double-sided pre-quilted fabric and three prints will come in coated fabric. Lots of possibilities!

We try to reuse and recycle as much as possible and sometimes that includes using a bit of ingenuity and a lot of creativity. For instance: do you buy lettuce in the grocery store that comes with one of these green velcro bands?
We do! And some other veggies (like broccoli and asparagus) come with thick rubber bands that we can't get ourselves to throw away! We keep them in the drawer with our aluminum foil and saran wrap:
Ok, we eat a lot of lettuce...and yes, it's a little out of control. But those velcro strips are so useful for storing open bags of things like this:
or this:
or for training a rose bush like this:
or trellising a vine like this:
Pete uses them to cinch around his pant leg so it doesn't get caught in the chain while riding his bike. And in the summer, we use them to fasten our tomato plants to the cages. Got any other ideas for these thingies?? How about any recycling tips you use around your home? Would love to hear them!

April 15, 2011

The "P" Word

Never put off till tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.
-Mark Twain

It's Friday. Yay! But my "to do" list keeps getting longer and looks more like something you'd prefer to see on a Monday with a full week ahead to get stuff done. And it's sunny and warm outside today, and i've really been wanting to plant some potatoes. (Can you see where this is going?) So i started the day off with an unexpected wave of good ol' procrastination. Oh yes, it happens. And that endorsement by Mr. Twain didn't really help. So while i was procrastinating, i found this fun animation about procrastination:

The thing about procrastination is that it doesn't last too long, and i know that This Too Shall Pass...oooh! which reminds me of that amazing video by OK Go. These guys have made procrastination into an inventive and creative art form.

Now to get back to that list...or...

April 14, 2011

Theme Song

I saw this card on Pinterest the other day, and it tickled my funny bone:
It was made by Richele Silva and is available in her Etsy shop, richiedesign.

It got me thinking. Do you sometimes have theme songs for the kind of day you're having? Maybe one that emerges as the day's events unfold? Could be because of what you're working on, or laughing at, or debating over, or juggling, or all the things you should be doing but can't because of all the other things that might have a certain degree of red-flag priority? I do! Especially with all the prep-work that has been in full-swing for Surtex next month. For the past couple weeks, my theme song has been this (not the intro, the main part). Today it's already been some of this and then after a measuring challenge went awry, it turned into this. It has developed overtones of this (thanks to you-know-who) and the afternoon seems to be kicking off with a little of this. Thankfully, somewhere waaay in the very very distant background is this.
What's your theme song today?

April 4, 2011

It's A Good Thing (or two)

How did i forget to tell you about my recent encounter(s) with Martha!? I guess i had tweeted about it, but hadn't done a blog post. And then the other day something else happened and i was reminded to share this fun stuff with you..

Like so many, i'm a huge fan of Martha and her whole beautiful world. I subscribe to her magazine and email newsletter, watch her show, read her blog, follow her tweets, own her cookbooks, and her Encyclopedia (of Sewing and Fabric Crafts). I even painted our pie safe with Martha paint from Home Depot! Her recipes, projects, and tips are tried-and-true and tested to perfection. She sets you up for success, and i love that! Yep, a huge fan.

Back in February, when i heard that Martha was going to be doing a book signing just a couple towns away, i immediately signed us up for our spot in line. I think we were #317 and #318. The signing was to promote a new cookbook, Power Foods, that was written by the editors of Whole Living magazine. Martha wrote the foreword, and her seal of approval was quite enough for us. After such a long winter, Pete and i had gotten into a bit of a food rut, so we were excited (and desperate) for some new foodie ideas.

Before we hopped into the car to head to Fairway Market, Pete suggested i bring one of my Delilah plates from Crate and Barrel to give to Martha. I wasn't so sure about that because seriously, i was a bundle of nerves just thinking about actually meeting her, and thought it might be too self-promotey of me and not my style. But i listened to him, and put one of the plates in my bag. Yes, i'm sure you can guess this is some not-so-obscure foreshadowing.

We got to Fairway, bought our cookbooks and stood on line while Martha had a tour of the grocery store. Here she is at the deli counter (i was really trying not to stalk her):
And perusing the olive oil selection (ok, maybe i was stalking her just a little):
But just look at that beautiful scarf she was wearing! So stylish:
And then we finally had our chance to meet her and have her sign the cookbooks. I got up the nerve and handed her The Plate, figuring this was one of those times to seize the moment:
(please forgive the blurry photos. And let me add that i'm so happy Pete didn't know how to work the video on my phone...otherwise you'd be laughing right now at how nervous i was. trust me, you would be) She looked The Plate over very carefully, examined the details, and i think she liked it. I think...
While she was doing that, i was fixated on how her bright turquoise watch band matched her earrings perfectly. She's amazing. Then i quickly changed the topic to gardening. Pete and i were getting ready to turn the dirt in our raised beds and think about what veggies to plant this year. So i asked Martha if she had a favorite heirloom tomato she might recommend. She told me she plants over 30 varieties, but prefers a "good slicing tomato" and suggested either "Better Boy" or "Big Boy" hybrids. Here's Martha sharing this wonderful info with me:
In case you might be interested, she added that for heirloom varieties, Seed Savers is the best place to buy seeds. That sure made our choice an easy one.

I wonder how many books Martha signed that day?! Btw, it's a wonderful cookbook, and uses very simple, healthful ingredients. The Banana Bread with Walnuts and Flaxseed on p. 78 is a pretty yummy way to start the day (or end the day, or snack on in-between). Anyway, it was a thrill to meet Martha in person. I sure won't forget that anytime soon (or ever).

And then...

...last week...

...my friend Stefanie tweeted that she thought she spied some of my Central Park fabric on the Martha Stewart Show. Well, it was April 1st and i thought for sure she was April-fooling me. I usually fall for every prank/trick in the book, but not this time. OhHo no. Try again, Little Lady Patchwork :) Even in doubt, i waited for the previous day's show to air online, and sure enough there it was in Martha's hands! My little ol' Zoo animal print was featured in a segment about framing fabric. Wanna see? The whole project is such a wonderful idea (and i wish i had designed the beautiful Ikat prints in the beginning, but those were made by Dedar in Milan). My Zoo print comes in toward the end. So fun and exciting! Let me include the link in here quickly before i *faint* again.

ps: thankyouthankyou to everyone who has been voting in the march madness madness. i can't believe Central Park made it into the final four! yippee!
Clunk, again.

April 3, 2011

No Ordinary Rose

Joanna S. Rose turned eighty this year. Her husband asked her what she wanted for her birthday. Her reply? "Something I've not seen before and something that would be a gift for New York City." Her birthday gift turned into a gift for all of us.

You may have read about this magical, awe-inspiring, astounding, breathtaking, exquisite quilt marvel and spectacle called "Infinite Variety" that was held at the Park Avenue Armory in NY last week. It was a display of Mrs. Rose's 650 red and white quilts that she has collected for 30 years. Although Mrs. Rose considers herself as having the "instincts of a treasure hunter, not a collector." Either way, her acquiring of these quilts was about the fun of the discovery, but also the pleasure it gave Mrs. Rose to know that the nineteenth-century women whose busy hands made the quilts, were letting their imaginations soar. And to see them displayed as they were gave a powerful suggestion that these quilts were indeed works of art.

Not only was the show mapped out in spirals, rings, and arcs, i found myself turning in circles as well—jaw hanging open in amazement. It was dark in the hall, but the quilts were lit up like stars in the night sky; twinkling and spiraling up in celestial beauty. One of the first quilts you set your eyes on when walking in the entry was this one:
Hypnotic, right? It pulls you right in. Into the center of the giant spiral where a circle of chairs were draped with quilts. This was to bring us back to the idea of a quilting bee or sewing circle where women would gather, talk, sew, talk some more and connect with each other through their common interest. Not unlike what is going on today in guilds and retreats and across great distances with the help of technology. I thought this was such a tender way to connect the past and present, and though the women who sat in those chairs are no longer here, their quilts and spirits are.
I think about this same kind of thing whenever i stand in front of a painting by Van Gogh or Matisse or any of my favorites. There is a magical thing that happens when you look for the artist's hand in their work and can see the energy in the stroke when their paintbrush was whisked over the canvas, or if the marks were made with care and precision. I like to get up close to look for these kinds of details. Not to mention that when standing there, looking at the colors or composition it's impossible not to think that Van Gogh probably stood in right around the same spot and proximity to the painting when he was creating it. So plant your feet and enjoy knowing that.

This kind of evidence and energy was palpable in these quilts as well. Though their creators are largely anonymous, doesn't matter. There were 125 quilts selected to be seen at eye-level...many for their incredible hand stitch-work. I looked at the quilt, but thought of the needle, the hands, and the intent for where the next stitch would come up or go down. Have i used the word "breathtaking" yet? Hmm..how about "astonishing"? You get the idea.
I had the pleasure and joy of walking through this show with Lissa, and together we stopped within earshot of a volunteer who was answering questions about the show. One of the most interesting things we learned is that red is the first color on the spectrum that a baby sees. Isn't that fascinating? Also, the popularity of red and white quilts was largely due to the colorfastness of Turkey red dyes. Most other color dyes used in the early 1800's would fade or run when washed. The red dye was made from the root of a plant called "madder" (its scientific name is Rubia Tinctorum, go figure! Rubia...ruby...red).
Other tidbits, i had a brief but happy little visit with Sandy Klop (American Jane) just before she and her sister hailed a cab to the airport. Get this! She was #37 on the list and already has her brand new iPad2!! Lucky lady. I also had a delightful lunch with Liesl and Lissa, and finally got to meet the Schnibble Queen, Carrie Nelson! She is such fun and if you're not familiar with her patterns, treat yourself and take a peek at Miss Rosie's Quilt Co.

It was a memorable day for so many reasons. If you're interested, there is an app you can download from iTunes that gives an overview of the whole exhibit. The information is provided by the American Folk Art Museum. Apparently research is underway to learn more about the specific quilts and a catalog is due to be published in the next year and a half. And the good news is that we heard that this show is supposed to go on tour! So it might end up somewhere near you. If it does, don't think twice. Just go.

Happy Birthday, Mrs. Rose!
(and thank you for sharing your gift)